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Q: Student Loans Upon Death. ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: Student Loans Upon Death.
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: davemac33-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 02 Aug 2005 04:08 PDT
Expires: 01 Sep 2005 04:08 PDT
Question ID: 550742
My daughter died unexpectedly 2 weeks ago of severe complications from
juvenile diabetes. She was 39 years old. She died without a will. As
best as I can determine,
she had undergrad and grad school student loans totaling $37,000. What
is the disposition of the loans upon death? What should I do?

Request for Question Clarification by hagan-ga on 02 Aug 2005 05:44 PDT
Davemac, I'm very sorry for your loss.  Did you guarantee or co-sign
any of the loans?

Clarification of Question by davemac33-ga on 02 Aug 2005 06:39 PDT
On her under grad student loans I believe that I co-signed. On her
grad school student loan which are well over $30,000, I did not
co-sign. However, she may have consolidated her loans.
Subject: Re: Student Loans Upon Death.
Answered By: hagan-ga on 02 Aug 2005 10:26 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Davemac, it appears that at least the Federal student loans will be
cancelled upon notice of the borrower's death.

?Death of the Borrower. If a former student borrower dies, the
executor -- the person who collects and distributes the property left
at death -- can cancel any federal student loan.?

These sites concur that a Stafford loan is cancelled upon the death of
the borrower:

And this is a pretty comprehensive discussion:
According to this discussion (dealing with suicide), even some
co-signed loans may be forgiven upon the borrower's death -- but
generally only federal loans, not private or university loans.

"Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students, better known as PLUS loans,
are another type of federal student loan. Payments can be cancelled on
these loans if the student/former student dies or if the parent who
takes out the loan dies. If both parents are listed on the PLUS loan,
however, the surviving spouse must continue to make payments. To have
a federal loan cancelled, contact the bank, credit union, or school
that sends the bill. They will probably request a copy of the death

The site goes on to advise that non-Federal loans may not be
cancelled, but that they need only be paid from the former student's
estate (unless co-signed):

"Payments on student loans from the other three sources?state, college
or university, and private programs?will continue to be due in most
cases. (Some states and colleges will cancel loans of former students
who die.) Payments can be made from your loved one's estate. No one
else is responsible for payment unless he or she is a cosigner on the
student loan. Check with your state's department of higher education
or loan provider for specific policies."

You should provide the lenders with a formal request for cancellation,
along with a copy of the death certificate.

Since you specifically mentioned "student loans," I am assuming that
these are not secured debts.  If they are secured debts, such as a
mortgage or home equity loan, that she was using to pay tuition, that
is a whole different animal.

In case it might be useful, this is a general checklist of what to do
when a family member dies:

And this is an overview of the probate process:

Again, please accept my condolences for your loss; if there's anything
further I can help with, please don't hesitate to ask.
davemac33-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $10.00
I can't begin to express my gratitude for an excellent answer. In a
trying situation, such as death of a child, it helped ease my mind. I
am going to spread the gospel of Google Answers. Thank you. Dave

Subject: Re: Student Loans Upon Death.
From: frde-ga on 02 Aug 2005 04:18 PDT

If she was 39 and it was not a typo, then she was definitely an adult.

Did she leave any assets, somehow I suspect not.

Unless you signed some guarantees, then I suggest you don't worry.
As a matter of courtesy, it would be polite to write to the lenders to
inform them of the situation.
Subject: Re: Student Loans Upon Death.
From: hagan-ga on 04 Aug 2005 10:16 PDT
Thank you so much for the kind comments and the generous tip.  It was
my pleasure to help any way I could.

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